Jack The Ripper: Story Of Crimes And Suspected Persons

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Jack the Ripper, notorious for his barbarous, merciless and inhumane manslaughters was an infamous serial killer with an unknown identity. ‘The Ripper’ was responsible for numerous ghastly homicides of women now addressed as the ‘canonical five’ during the summer of 1888. Robbery, violence, and alcohol dependency were all driving factors concerning the abundant amount of crime within and amongst the streets of Whitechapel. The East End of London, prominent for its immense amount of poverty within the community, was an industrial and overcrowded area. The reasoning regarding why Whitechapel was increasingly overcrowded was due to White Chapel being an immigrant district. There were large numbers of Jewish, Irish and Russian immigrants that resided amongst the residents of Whitechapel. The number of immigrants seemed to increase in the mid-1800’s, the Jewish, at the time were fleeing persecution in Russia, Germany and Poland. During that decade, the Jewish population in London had risen to over approximately 50,000. The shortage of residences created the abyss of Whitechapel. The streets, alleyways and courtyards of Whitechapel were only lit by single gas lamps which only gave out around 6 feet of light, it was so thick at times that it’d be a struggle to see your hand that’s in front of your face. Due to the poverty amongst the residents of Whitechapel and the unemployment rates, approximately 78,000 residents lived in abject poverty resulting in women resorting to prostitution to make extra funds. With around 62 brothels and 1,200 working prostitutes, the theory surrounding someone who is now perceived as ‘Jack the Ripper’, thought to be misogynistic figure, infuriated by the rates of prostitution, comes to the forefront. The undiscovered question that’s been and is continuing to drive people into depths of confusion and frustration, leading them to make preposterous accusations, is, who is Jack the Ripper?

It was on August the 31st, 1888 when the body belonging to Mary Ann Nichols was discovered by two men. She’s thought to be the first victim of the infamous, Jack the Ripper. Mary Ann Walker, born on the 26th of August 1845 in London, England, was around 5’2 tall with brown eyes and a dark complexion. She had brown hair that was fading into a greyish colour and was missing five front teeth, two bottom-one top fronts (Fido), with her teeth being slightly discoloured. It’s evident from this given information that she wasn’t a particularly attractive women which seems to be a trend amongst the victims of Jack the Ripper. Emily Holland, a friend of Mary, stated that she’s ‘a very clean women who always seemed to keep to herself.” Another trend amongst the victims was alcoholism. Mary married William Nichols on the 16th of January 1864, around the age of 22. Mary and William had five children. They separated in 1881, being the last of many separations during their 24-year long marriage. It was the year of 1882 when William discovered that Mary was working and living as a prostitute and had discontinued his support payments towards her. Mary’s last address was at a lodging house known as the White House at 56 Flower and Dean Street. Men could share a bed with a woman in this residence. At approximately 3:40 – 3:45 am Mary’s body was discovered by Charles Cross and Robert Paul. Some observations that were made were that there was a wine glass and blood in the gutter aside her. The vessels of her neck were both severed on both sides. The cuts were caused by a long-bladed knife, it was also a clean murder as no blood was found on her breast, body or clothes. There was also a bruise that was along the lower part of her jaw and on the right side of her face. It’s theorised that the person who had done this horrific crime was left-handed as the injuries were from left to right.

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There were many similarities regarding the victims of Jack the Ripper but two of the most recognised links between them is the fact that they were all working as prostitutes whether it’d be publicly or behind their husband’s and families’ backs. Another thing was that was a common denominator, was that each of the victims’ throats have been severed by at least one or two cuts and with the blood dripping towards the back of their necks so that the blood wouldn’t create a mess on their bodies. The canonical five were all murdered in the early hours in the morning between 1-5 am but usually weren’t found until hours later. Mary Kelly’s body was discovered at 10:45 am on Friday the 9th of November 1888. There was an official police photograph of Mary and it was clear that her entire body had been mutilated and disembowelled. It’s reported that her throat had been severed right down to her spine, her abdomen was almost emptied of her organs and the heart was missing. Other observations about each of the canonical five were that, Chapman’s uterus had been taken, Eddowes’ uterus and kidney removed, and her face was mutilated, Kelly’s body was disembowelled, and her face was hacked with her heart missing, and lastly Nichols wasn’t missing any organs, but her throat had been slit and cuts and bruises all over her body. It’s evident from this evidence, regarding how the bodies were left and how some organs were removed, the person committing these horrible crimes had some form of medical knowledge or at least knowledge in a field such as butchering. So, although there are numerous regarding the case of Jack the Ripper, I’ve narrowed them down to three, due to them standing out amongst the rest. In my opinion, the most suspicious suspect is Francis Tumblety after comparing his backstory and history to the rest. For now, I’ll be addressing two other men who have been labelled suspects, George Chapman and Joseph Barnett.

George Chapman has been labelled a suspect and it’s understandable as to why. His history is what pushed others to believe that he could potentially be Jack the Ripper. Born in 1864, as Aaron Kosminski, was a Polish murderer, also known as the Borough Poisoner, he was also an assistant surgeon. Born in Congress Poland, he then moved across to England when he was an adult. England was where he committed his crimes, he was convicted and executed after poisoning three women. He was thought to be the notorious serial killer after Chapman’s first wife, reported to police that her husband (George) frequently went out during the nights for numerous hours on end. George was known to beat his wives and was a violent figure with a misogynistic streak. He allegedly strangled his wife, forcing her on the bed, only stopping when a customer walked into their shop which was joined with their room. He allegedly said to Lucy (his wife at the time), that he was planning to behead her with the knife that was underneath the pillow, he’d bury her and recited what he was planning to say to their neighbours. Another suspicious report is the fact that his description matched what the man seen with Mary Jane Kelly, (victim of the canonical five), the murders also took a halt when he left for the United States. Another suspicious figure, Joseph Barnett, was a fish porter and worked in Billingsgate Market. What deems him suspicious is the fact that he had a relationship with Mary Jane Kelly, meeting her on the 8th of April 1887. By the time of the ripper murders, the couple had resided in 13 Miller’s Court, Dorset Street. The same location where Mary’s body would later be found on the 9th of November 1888. On the 30th of October, the pair argued, resulting in a broken window and Joseph leaving to the lodging houses in Bishopsgate. The argument allegedly was due to Mary allowing a prostitute to share their lodgings. On the 1st of November 1888, it’s said that Joseph often visits Kelly, on good terms and giving her money. Then just 8 days later, on the 9th of November, Mary’s mutilated body was found on 13 Miller’s Court. Joseph, at the time, was not deemed as a suspect until the 1970’s when the idea of him being one was introduced by Bruce Paley. The theory surrounded why Joseph would be the ripper or at least have a motive is the fact that he was growing tired of Mary being a prostitute. With him being deeply in love with Mary, and her selling herself to other men, he thought he could financially support her, so she didn’t have to resort to living on the streets. Then on June 1888, Joseph had lost his job as a fish porter. Mary returned to the streets as there was no longer financial support which infuriated Joseph and, in an attempt, to try and scare her off the streets, he murdered the prostitutes now known as the canonical five, (minus Mary for the time being.) With his plan not working he grew even more frustrated, resulting in Joseph murdered Mary Jane Kelly, on the 9th of November. Some other evidence that supports that theory is the fact that his physical appearance does match with descriptions provided by witnesses, his height being a common denominator. It’s reported that there were ginger beer bottles that were found in 13 Miller’s Court, on the 9th of November. Comparing this to a well-known letter known as the ‘Dear Boss’ letter, was very convincing as in the letter it says, ‘saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with.’

Another very interesting character is Francis Tumblety and in my opinion the most suspicious out of the three. There is very little information provided regarding his birthplace and his early life, he’s thought to be born approximately in the year 1833. Francis practised as an Indian herb doctor around the year of 1854 and appeared to have some form of wealth. In Montreal, during the fall of the year 1857, Francis had presented himself as a physician. Some suspicious information regarding his criminal record is the fact that he was under arrest for attempted abortion of a pregnant prostitute, he allegedly had sold her pills and liquid. Francis was released on the 1st of October. Francs had made a return to Liverpool sometime in June 1888. This date is suspicious especially as it’s his return date and was also the same year that the Jack the Ripper murders had taken place in. Some information that contradicts the theory of Francis being responsible for the Jack the Ripper crimes, is the fact that he’s a homosexual, some evidence that supports that claim is that Francis was arrested again on the 7th of November 1888 for assault and ‘gross indecency’ against four men between the 27th of June and 2nd of November 1888. He then was charged due to being suspected of the Whitechapel crimes, as it was suggested that between the dates, 7th and 12th of November he was free to commit those crimes. The trial had been postponed until the 10th of December, but Francis had suddenly fled to France under the name, ‘Frank Townsend,’ on the 24th of November. After that, he then took ‘the steamer, La Bretagne’ to New York City, America. Francis was a suspicious figure due to his ability to disappear without a trance, across to other countries and under different names. Why would he flee to other countries without a reason? Why would he change his name multiple times to cover his tracks and hide his identity? The theory surrounding Francis being the one responsible for the ripper crimes is becoming increasingly believable. As more evidence such as Francis changing his identity and fleeing to other countries is providing us with an even clearer idea and perspective as to why he’s a more reliable candidate than the other suspects. Some more provided evidence is that he does fit the requirements for Jack the Ripper, as per mentioned before, there’d be some knowledge in the medical field required, which Francis has. Supposedly, Francis did have a strong hatred towards prostitutes and women in general, he had anatomical knowledge, followed by a collection of wombs. Another strong piece of evidence is the fact that after he had fled from England to France, the Ripper murders had come to an end.     


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